Was woman removed from Obama’s rally really Muslim?

Posted at 10:30 PM, May 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-09 00:46:14-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Comments and questions have poured forth after a woman was removed, said to be in a burqa, from President Obama campaign rally on Saturday.

Isti Arief , a PhD student at Virginia Commonwealth University, told CBS 6 she was elated to see another Muslim woman sitting a few rows in front of her at President Obama’s re-election rally on Saturday.

However, Arief says when she looked much closer , she knew something was wrong, starting with the woman’s burqa.

"It looked like more of a makeshift one. It wasn't even an official one” said Arief.

Arief goes on to say because the woman completely covered her face and the not the rest of her body, the situation grew more perplexing.

"A regular Muslim would know that no one would cover their face,  wearing short sleeve,  with a tattoo, and capri pants. There's just something not right about that,” says Arief.

Arief told CBS 6, this woman was just a few yards away from the President, and secret service agents ordered the woman to uncover her face in order to stay in the rally. Arief said when the woman didn’t , she was escorted out of the building.

Imad Dimaj, with the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs, said a conservative Muslim woman following Islam tradition would typically cover her entire face and body--which isn’t the case here.

Dimaj also told CBS6 that a Muslim woman in America would know not to walk into such an event with her face covered.

"They have to uncover their face for security purposes and they know that,”  said Dimaj.

Arief said that following September 11th, 2001, she knows some people are more skeptical of Muslims and the situation with this woman simply made her uncomfortable.

"I feel offended by that. You're taking something holy and pure and trying to make a scene out of it and trying to make trouble, “ said Arief.


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